It was remarked Tuesday afternoon that the turmoil in Congress over the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—also known as Obamacare—is beginning to look a bit like Revelation 18.
While that text gives a vision of the fall of a new Babylon, it also describes a great global economic disaster.
Republicans' efforts to unshackle the U.S. economy from the chains of Obamacare suffered a likely fatal setback when U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced Tuesday they would vote against the "clean repeal" bill that was to be offered this week. Collins was always a "no" vote, even when President Barack Obama was in office and Republicans and the House and Senate passed a virtually identical bill in December of 2015.
Still, even without her vote, on paper, Republicans had the 51 votes they needed to pass the legislation. And, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was seriously considering killing the filibuster—by removing the 60-vote cloture requirement on all bills—in order to bypass Democrats' obstructionism. But, Murkowski and Capito, who were both "yes" votes nearly 19 months ago, changed their minds.
"As I have said before, I did not come to Washington to hurt people," Capito said. "For months, I have expressed reservations about the direction of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
"I have serious concerns about how we continue to provide affordable care to those who have benefited from West Virginia's decision to expand Medicaid, especially in light of the growing opioid crisis. All of the Senate health care discussion drafts have failed to address these concerns adequately.
"My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians."
President Donald Trump noted people are already hurting, not just in West Virginia, but everywhere in the U.S. under the burdens of Obamacare. And if Congress can't find a way to repeal it, he told reporters Tuesday he's willing to "let it die" in order to force Democrats to the negotiating table for a viable replacement.
"I think we're probably in that position where we'll just let Obamacare fail. We're not gonna own it. I'm not gonna own it," he said. "We'll let Obamacare fail, and then Democrats are going to come to us.
"I am disappointed because, for so many years, I've been hearing, 'Repeal and Replace.'"
Failing to follow through on their promise, however, could have grave consequences for Republicans in Congress. There is a way to avoid a catastrophe in 2018, according to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich: the economy.
"They have got to pass by Thanksgiving, and get signed into law, by Thanksgiving, a very large tax cut, retroactively designed back to January 1, to make sure that we have enough economic growth in 2018," he said during an interview with FOX News Channel. "That way, Republicans can run as the party of prosperity, of jobs, of higher take home pay and of economic growth.
"If we don't have economic growth next year, I think we're in real danger of having Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019."
That might be more difficult with one-sixth of the nation's economy in turmoil over whether or not Obamacare will be repealed, the tax implications for corporations and small businesses alike and the out-of-pocket expense for middle class Americans who can ill afford another year of double-digit increases in health insurance premiums under the status quo. The dollar fell another half a percent to a 10-month low, bringing the total loss of valuation to 7 percent just in 2017 alone.
Americans' money buys less, and they're about to have a lot less of it to spend. Indeed, it sounds a lot like Revelation 18.
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